Singapore city

Tips for enjoying Singapore on the cheap

As soon as I arrived in the incredible city-state of Singapore, gazing up at the teeming skyscrapers and marvelling at the fast-paced hustle of my surroundings, I was eager to explore. However after months spent indulging on the likes of £3 foot massages in Thailand and huge cheap-as-chips exotic spreads of food in Laos, when we arrived in Singapore things seemed… not so cost-efficient.

On a pretty strict travel budget, myself and my travel buddies made sure to try our very best not to spend too much in Singapore. Here’s how we did it:

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Mui Ne fishing village

My Mui Ne itinerary

Mui Ne is a charming little spot in Southern Vietnam, mostly known for its unlikely sand dunes. We stayed for a couple of nights, although I feel that Mui Ne can be easily and thoroughly explored in just one day and night, depending on how jam-packed you like your days to be!

Where we were staying, Mui Ne Backpackers Village, you could join a tour for $7 to take you to the best attractions in the area. However we very cheekily decided to copy their itinerary and do it ourselves on rental mopeds. This allowed us to explore at our own pace and was also more cost-efficient – bonus!

This itinerary for us was in fact spread throughout a couple of days, but here’s how I would fit it all into one day and night.

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Kampot's river

One day in Kampot

Kampot, a charming riverside town in Southern Cambodia is a spot I wished we had longer to explore. Realising back in Sihanoukville that we would be limited on time for Kampot due to our visa for Vietnam starting imminently, me and my travel buddies decided to make a quick beeline for the quaint little city. We had one full day to make the most of our visit – here’s what we got up to.

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The skulls of the victims

Phnom Penh: The good, the bad and the ugly

I’m going to put it out there. Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, has been my least favourite place I’ve visited during my Southeast Asia adventures so far. It may be that I’m biased as I am a bit sick of huge cities by now, having spent most my life living in London. Or it may be that we simply overstayed there, visiting for 3 nights (a rookie mistake!). Or maybe Phnom Penh is just a ‘love it or hate it’ type of place, as I have met people who really enjoyed their visit there, happily embracing the hectic madness of the city.

So, to show that travelling isn’t all lounging on white sand beaches and meeting lovely friendly locals wanting to exchange tales about their country, I think it’s also pretty important to highlight some of the places that didn’t feel so amazing. The places that you wouldn’t rush back to visit again in a hurry.

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Bats in Battambang

30 Million bats in Battambang?

Battambang, a city a couple of hours’ drive away from Siem Reap is a spot that is often left out from a typical traveller’s itinerary of Cambodia, overshadowed by the spotlight of the temples of Angkor and the bustle of Phnom Penh. However after reading up about it in my trusty lonely planet guide, I was pretty keen to at least spend one full day there to explore the town’s surroundings.

We hired a tuk-tuk driver for the day (only $18 between 6 of us!) and we did indeed have a great day out. There was certainly lots to do. We spent the day journeying on a bamboo train, exploring various different temples, wandering through a vineyard and visiting a former interrogating centre and killing caves. These were used by the Khmer rouge back in the 70s and although it was sad to see and learn about, it was also very interesting.

But it was something else that really for the first time during our trip honestly left me open mouthed. Bats leaving their cave for the night. Literally millions and millions of them!

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Si Phan Don's Four Thousand Islands

What is there to do in Four Thousand Islands?

After successfully completing the Laos Thakhek bike loop, some of the group decided to head down South for some chill time in Si Phan Don, more commonly known as ‘Four thousand islands’. We stayed on one of the more popular islands, Don Det, which is still a tiny little place very much backpacker orientated with a cool hippy vibe. We were there for four nights but again like in Pai in Northern Thailand, when I look back at our time spent there I struggle to pinpoint exactly what we got up to! It is very much a place to hammock-dwell with little planned. Many travellers we met said they had ended up spending a lot longer there than anticipated, simply enjoying the sunshine and having a chance to relax without rushing around doing activities and excursions.

So, what exactly did we do?

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